If you are looking for a true “winter wonderland” experience for the holidays, grab your parkas, cameras, and family members and head over to the nearest ice hotel!
What’s an ice hotel, you might be wondering? Well, it’s pretty simple. They are luxurious igloos, temporarily built as hotels sculpted out of snow, blocks of ice and, in some cases for safety, steel framing. This unique hotel experience lands itself in the category of destination hotels and attracts many travellers who no longer select lodgings solely because they're close to holiday spots. To bring it up a notch, hotels have become destinations to offer their guests an even more accommodating experience. Thankfully to the idea of ice hotels, arctic resorts that used to have to close up for the winter can now happily attract tourists year round.
Reconstructed annually, ice hotels are always updated to the times and offer something new each year. To experience an ice hotel is to step inside a storybook and take in the ice castle view before you. A look inside and you’ll see the lobby of ice sculptures that tower and demand attention. Further in, ice bars with friendly and warm bartenders wait for you to sit down and sip cocktails that fill up ice glassware. Since the temperatures generally range from 17-23 degrees Fahrenheit, there are many warm rooms offered to help keep guests comfortable. For those who brave the cold, the ice hotels also offer many variations of ways to warm their guests including, hot cocoa, fur, plenty of blankets, and even fireplaces.
What makes an ice hotel so special to its guests are the décor. Unlike other hotels, ice hotels create rooms with ice-sculpted furniture, art, and beds with fibre optic lights that create artistic dimension to the otherwise would-be white and clear ice and snow. Many ice hotels invite world known artists to theme various rooms inspired by movies, music, culture, and other artists alike. Some ice hotels even offer the chance to mush your very own dog pack across the hills of snow!
For many of you who are asking yourself, just how does an ice hotel work? The answer lies in the geographical location of the hotel, and not just the temperatures. These ice hotels are located near rivers where workers can freeze the water they draw in and cut the ice into large blocks before building the blocks into the structure of the hotel. It takes about five to six weeks for elaborate ice hotels to be built. As spring rolls around, the hotel melts and waits to be built until winter prevails yet again.
Some people who have stayed in ice hotels describe the experience of waking up after a night in an ice hotel as one of pure happiness while others label it as accomplishment against the harsh temperatures. However, to all travellers it is a destination that provides unforgettable aesthetics, rare architecture, and a winter wonderland memory to last a lifetime.